Charlie Martz and Other Stories by Elmore Leonard is a collection of early, mostly unpublished stories from the iconic crime fiction writer, who died in 2013.
The stories show Leonard beginning to find his trademark style: clean, hard prose along with tight, streetwise dialogue, and salted with simmering menace.
Some of the stories included are crime pieces like the Detroit mobster vengeance tale, "One, Horizontal." Other stories like "The Trespassers," and "For Something to Do," show ordinary people put into threatening situations.
Then there are the Western stories, where Leonard first made his writing mark with novels like Hombre and Valdez is Coming. Two standout tales are the title story "Charlie Martz," and the follow-up "Siesta in Paloverde."
This collection is a varied, interesting read for Elmore Leonard devotees. Leonard was a writer's writer and a rigorous craftsman and Charlie Martz shows how he learned that craft.